The 2014 MLS SuperDraft was held on Thursday in Philadelphia, with the hometown Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution making the most talked-about moves.
Right off the bat, the Union traded up for the top spot in the draft, selecting University of Connecticut goalkeeper and Jamaican international Andre Blake.
Blake was a highly regarded prospect, coming into the draft as a three-time collegiate All-Conference player and two-time NSCAA All-American.
The issue with the Union taking Blake, and trading up to do so, is that they already have a starting goalkeeper in Zac MacMath, who is only 22 years old and was the Union’s No. 5 pick in the draft only three years ago.
The pick was obviously not a vote of confidence for MacMath, and speculation has already begun that one of the two may be headed to Vancouver (many mock drafts had the Whitecaps taking Blake).
The other big surprise out of the draft was the fact that the New England Revolution picked up both Patrick Mullins and Steve Neumann, although surprisingly not in that order.
Many had projected the Revs picking up Mullins with the fourth pick of the draft (some projected him as the No. 1 pick), but they passed up the two-time Hermann Trophy winner and went with Neumann instead. Neumann has been listed as both a midfielder and a striker and came into the draft as a highly-rated player.
Mullins, who was the NCAA's top-scorer in 2013 and scored 36 goals over his final two seasons at Maryland, was also a highly rated attacker who many thought would go in the top five picks. However, after the Revolution passed on him, he continued to fall. Finally, at pick No. 11, the Revolution made a trade with the Colorado Rapids and selected him.
With Juan Agudelo leaving, the Revolution picked up, arguably, the two most exciting attacking prospects in the draft. Added to players like Kelyn Rowe, Lee Nguyen and Diego Fagundez, the Revolution should be well stocked in 2014.
The Blake-MacMath controversy and New England’s draft coup added some excitement to what many saw as a potentially dull draft. With the expanded use of MLS’ homegrown player rule and the increasing importance of MLS’ academy system, many of the top prospects are now signed directly to their hometown team and no longer enter the draft.
As time progresses, the MLS SuperDraft will continue to lose its importance, but the 2014 draft certainly gave fans plenty to talk about.
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